|Robbat2's LiveJournal Friends||[entries|friends|calendar]|
|a touch of snow||[Thu, 12 Dec 2013 10:20:00 -0800]|
I did not go out and tromp around Stanley Park in the snow wearing my nice wool coat. It didn't occur to me until that afternoon/evening that this was a missed opportunity. Next time.
The snow also marked the return of the Vancouver grey. According to my weather app it's cloud cover as far as the eye can see (so, through the end of next week). It does feel more like home now at least. The constant sun got kind of weird after awhile, and temps above freezing are nice too.
I write about the weather because it's concrete and safe, and because it sometimes makes for interestingly subtle metaphors. Maybe my next post ought to be What I Write About When I Write About The Weather.
Mostly it's been a week of missed connections, cancelled plans, unexpected crashes, and general exhaustion. I would like to trade this week in for a working model please.
Also I had really ought to finish xmas shopping/wrapping/packaging. The only day we can take things down to the States to mail them is this coming Sunday, which is approaching with all the inevitability of a date on the calendar that's closer than it appears.
Original post at Dreamwidth | comments | Comment there or here
|My tweets||[Thu, 12 Dec 2013 04:00:00 -0800]|
|depression comix #159||[Wed, 11 Dec 2013 21:32:00 -0800]|
This is a kind of continuation of the last one. The last one generated a lot of notes on Tumblr (1300+ in 24 hours, a kind of personal record) so this direction is not a bad one to take. Also, according to some of the replies, I was surprised to see the amount of support some people had from their partners, and this is forcing me to rethink that maybe these kinds of scenarios aren’t as rare as I thought.
Artistically, I decided to put a little more effort into this with backgrounds and such. I draw each panel in a space less than the size of a credit card so there isn’t much area to work with and the pens have to be extremely thin. But I really like how this came out for a change.
See original post: http://wp.me/p3KYMB-e9 (ClayComix.Com)
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|Are Psychopaths Better In Bed?||[Wed, 11 Dec 2013 10:06:00 -0800]|
So this was startling: On a list called “10 Signs Your Man (or Woman) Is A Psychopath,” #5 was “Great Sex.” “Those who have been with a psychopath often say it’s the best thing they’ve ever experienced,” I was informed. “A psychopath goes out of his way to please you.”
It’s the old stereotype: bad boys are better in the sack. Those nice boys just don’t put gravy on your biscuit, honey.
Problem is, that didn’t really fit with the psychopaths I’d seen in action. Some of them were stellar in bed, almost addictively so. Yet others were really great at the “sweeping women off their feet” part, but turned out to be mediocre or unresponsive in the sack, caring more for their own needs than their partner’s. They got by because they manipulated their partners into wanting to please them, but there’s a difference between that and actually being good betwixt someone’s nethers.
And then there’s the skittery problem of diagnosing psychopaths in the wild. I mean, how are we diagnosing psychopaths? Was this a scientific survey? No, it was 1,300 blog readers self-diagnosing their ex-boyfriends, all of whom presumably turned out to be jerks. And I’m a little leery of that – I’m sure every one of those exes were manipulative jerks in some way, but there’s a large gap between that and a person clinically diagnosed as “lacking all sense of guilt or empathy.”
No. I’m willing to bet that sociopaths run the same gamut of sexy satisfaction as normal people, and this article’s just playing into old sexy-vampire legends of “The man who can kill your body can own your body.”
So what’s happening here? Self-selection, one suspects. Let’s try a new theory:
You’re more likely to stick around if someone hands you earth-shattering orgasms.
Sex is the grease in the wheels, baby. There have been plenty of times that Gini and I were furious with each other, but our kept us, ahem, coming back. Because even if a relationship is dissatisfying, degrading, and dismal, an hour-long romp that musses your hair just the way you like it is at least one bright spot. And it’s easy to confuse that sort of lubetastic shenanigans for love, because someone just made your body feel sooooooo damn good, how could they do that if they weren’t there for you emotionally?
But no. Some of the most memorable sex I’ve had has been with people who turned out to be completely incompatible with me. They say the heart wants what the heart wants; well, the genitals also have their own agenda. Access to the genitals is, hopefully, gatewayed by the heart, so often there’s a lot of overlap – if you’re sleeping with people you find repugnant to your soul, you’re probably doing it wrong.
One suspects that if we could delicately separate this concept of “love” from the concept of “physical satisfaction,” you’d find that all sorts of surprising people might be sexually compelling. You just wouldn’t want to wake up next to them in the morning. So you don’t bother. Which is good, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to go start popping open loathsome men like Cracker Jacks on the off-hand chance they’re your Kavorka Man.
Yet it does mean that people tend to slur that distinction. Good sex often inspires fondness… even when it really shouldn’t.
And those sexy sociopaths, well, one suspects there may have also been unsexy sociopaths who just didn’t cut the mustard bedwardly. But they weren’t around long enough to do damage! The reason all these smoochable Hannibal Lecters seem to be boudoir-omnipotent is because they were the ones who were so good at sex they rode this “good sex inspires fondness” exploit into an extensively damaging relationship.
I’d posit the sign is not “Good sex is the warning sign of a psychopath,” but rather “Good sex means you’re way more likely to stay with a guy.” And if that guy’s a psychopath, well, you’re in trouble. But we silently discard all the “good guy, good sex” cases because they’re not of interest, and we silently discard all the incompetent psychopaths who might have wormed their way in to do damage if they were just a little more skilled at oral.
Nah. I’m saying #5 is the same old story that tells us that good sex is linked to danger, as a subtle way of slut-shaming. The only way you can satisfy yourself, goes the subliminal impulse, is to find an evil man. For only evil men could master this evil skill.
Good men blow their lovers’ minds, too. They just don’t get the PR.
So what’s the real lesson here? “If someone’s mastered your horizontal mambo, be careful. Love is not sex; sex is not love.”
Which is, I think, a little nicer than “Those orgasms may have been a killer‘s orgasms!”, don’t you?
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/359720.h
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|My tweets||[Wed, 11 Dec 2013 04:01:00 -0800]|
|(Second) Sony LiveView to play with||[Wed, 11 Dec 2013 12:05:00 -0800]|
That's what Sony LiveView can do... and there are actually scripts to control LiveView from linux (good). (One version is in the tui cvs, I actually did partial LiveView emulator, too, but real watch came sooner.)
But... unix does not really have commands one would want to run on wrist... does it? Are there command-line tools to get weather? Public transport info? Navigation?
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|Shoutouts to Jamjars, Jackieboo, Senora Whiskers, and Cherri||[Tue, 10 Dec 2013 14:34:00 -0800]|
This weekend I got burdened with a load that matched some other baggage that I have been carrying since I was little. A wonderful friendship that was so treasured by me turned out to be one-sided-- but I'm ok this time, because I want to be. I know how to be.
Being dumped by a friend is so indescribably painful for me. I don't love lightly, and to find out that I've been betting on the wrong horse this whole time is agonizing and humiliating. I made a spot in my heart that I never should have, but this time I'm strong enough to fill it. I know that they didn't deserve that spot, because they didn't truly want to offer me the same. I'm not an idiot for taking someone at face value. I'm not pathetic for wanting to be loved back.
I'm a loyal, caring companion and I'm proud of that fact. I need only to look at the other people-- the deserving people that I've made space for-- to recognize that allowing myself to make those spots in the first place is a fantastic show of character. Absolutely and without question an admirable trait. My friends are lucky to be loved by me, and I am lucky to be loved by them back.
I'm proud of my love. I'm proud of who I am. I know my heart. Your opinions are shadowed by the blood spattered on your windscreen. I know who I am.
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|down down doobie down||[Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:43:00 -0800]|
From late 1994 through early 1997 I was on Prozac for depression. In late 2003 I visited a therapist for, among other things, depression and sorting out my life. That ended abruptly when Anthem (hereinafter Those Pig****ers) refused to pay for the counseling on the grounds that it was a pre-existing condition.
When I moved out here for work, I was put on my employer's medical short-term/long-term disability insurance. They sent me a piece of paper reading "Because you sought treatment for depression in 1994-97 and in 2003, we're not insuring you for any disability from depression or similar causes."
Moral: never tell anyone who can put it in official writing that you have symptoms of a mental illness, because that shit will haunt you for the rest of your bureaucratic existence.
(Happy ending: work renegotiated their contract with the insurer last year, so there are no more exclusions like that one.)
Original post at Dreamwidth | comments | Comment there or here
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|Why I Don’t Talk About Important Topics More Often||[Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:19:00 -0800]|
So I had a post burbling today on George Zimmerman’s girlfriend – who, after she called 911 to say that George Zimmerman had stuck a gun in her face, recanted and dropped the charges. And I was writing a post about abusers, and how people are manipulated by abusers, and how the stress of breaking free of an abusive relationship and having everyone knowing what a mess you’re in often makes people want to drop everything and revert back to those simpler days when they didn’t have to self-identify to all their loved ones as “an abused person.”
But that’s a high-wire post, there. Slip a bit to one side and you’re making it seem like Zimmerman’s somehow justified. Slip a little to the other side and you’re implying that the abuse is all the victim’s fault, and a little more gumption would have gotten them out of any bad situation.
Slip a little to yet another side and people are going to miss this very fine distinction that while I understand all the good reasons someone has not to report an abuser, and that I would never blame you if you didn’t want to go through this frustrating and oft-unfruitful bureaucratic PR nightmare, it’s still better if enough people can fight past the system to put assholes like this away. And they’ll accuse me of victim-blaming, when what I’m trying to do is generate sympathy for the terrible plight a victim is in.
And no matter what I did, the comments would be filled with hateful stuff from people who make snap-judgments, saying things like, “Well, why the hell was she dating Zimmerman in the first place? What a dumb bitch!” Which would hurt my heart, because my first instinct is to always go, “There but for the grace of God go I.” And others would debate all the facts of the Zimmerman abuse case, which would require me to come rapidly up to speed on how all this works so I could be sure I was correct.
And everyone would make everything seem simple: When you’re abused, here’s what you do, and if you don’t do it, you’re stupid! When you’re dealing with the cops, here’s what you do, there’s only one right way! And I’d be fighting both sides in an attempt to argue, once again, that the world is full of moral complexities, and goddammit your need to convert a million shades of gray into black and white is not helping.
Between all the flame wars I would need to quash and the danger that someone would misinterpret me, I think of all the effort this blog post would take me. And I’ve got a big project at work to do, and not enough time to manage comments, and so I put this post on the backburner and see if one day I feel it’s worth the energy it would take to shape and manage it properly.
This happens about three times a week.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/359548.h
|23 comments|post comment|
|"i want peace on earth and goodwill towards men."||[Mon, 9 Dec 2013 21:54:00 -0800]|
ROS: What do you want to do?I don't need or want much in the way of Stuff: first, if I want something I can and generally do buy it for myself; and second, if I get Stuff I'll just have to move it, or rather pay to have someone else move it.
(If you absolutely must get Stuff, I keep an Amazon wishlist.)
The other things I want are frequently intangible and/or impossible. But hey, who knows. Hence, roughly ordered by likelihood:
1) Something you think I ought to have.
2) Physical letters, or postcards, or packages, or whatnot. (My address.)
3) Ongoing encouragement to Keep Writing, preferably in the form of a meatspace writers' group to my specifications: five to ten people, weekly meetings, one or two critiques a week.
4) Live shows: theatre, concerts, what have you.
5) More awesome Vancouverites. (Vancovites? GVRDians?)
6) The right apartment.
8) Kink. (Reasons why this is nigh-impossible deserve their own highly-locked post, and will not be discussed here in any event.)
9) A blade to cut the fear-loneliness-fear Gordian Möbius.
10) Aspects: A Novel with Sorcery. (Though I'd be just as happy with The Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities.)
What do you want?
Original post at Dreamwidth | comments | Comment there or here
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|disconnected VM operation and 3D||[Tue, 10 Dec 2013 14:26:00 -0800]|
If you use are using libvirt and have VMs running they have no connection to the running user session or user X server, they run as the qemu user and are locked down on what they can access. You can restart your user session and the VM will keep trucking. All viewing off the VM is done using SPICE or VNC. GNOME Boxes is similar except it runs things as the user, but still not tied to the user session AFAIK (though I haven't confirmed).
So why does 3D make this difficult?
Well in order to have 3D we need to do two things.
a) talk to the graphics card to render stuff
b) for local users, show the user the rendered stuff without reading it back into system RAM, and sticking it in a pipe like spice or vnc, remote users get readback and all the slowness it entails.
No in order to do a), we face a couple of would like to have scenarios:
1. user using open source GPU drivers via mesa stack
2. user using closed source binary drivers like NVIDIA or worse fglrx.
How to access the graphics card normally is via OpenGL and its window APIs like GLX. However this requires a connection to your X server, if your X server dies your VM dies, if your session restarts your VM dies.
For scenario 1, where we have open source kms based drivers, the upcoming render nodes support in the kernel will allow process outside the X server control to use the capabilities of the graphics card via the EGL API. This means we can render in a process offscreen. This mostly solves problem (a) how to talk to the graphics card at all.
Now for scenario 2, so far NVIDIA has mostly got no EGL support for its desktop GPUs, so in this case we are kinda out in the cold, until they have at least EGL support, in terms of completely disconnecting the rendering process from the running user X server lifecycle.
This leaves problem (b), how do we get the stuff rendered using EGL back to the user session to display it. My first initial hand-wave in this area involved EGL images and dma-buf, but I get the feeling on subsequent reads that this might not be sufficient enough for my requirements. It looks like something like the EGLStream extension might be more suitable, however EGLstream suffers from only being implemented in the nvidia tegra closed source drivers from what I can see. Another option floated was to somehow use an embedded wayland client/server somewhere in the mix, I really haven't figured out the architecture for this yet (i.e. which end has the compositor and which end is the client, perhaps we have both a wayland client and compositor in the qemu process, and then a remote client to display the compositor output, otherwise I wonder about lifetime and disconnect issues). So to properly solve the problem for open source drivers I need to either get EGLstream implemented in mesa, or figure out what the wayland hack looks like.
Now I suppose I can assume at some stage nvidia will ship EGL support with the necessary bits for wayland on desktop x86 and I might not have to do anything special and it will all work, however I'm not really sure how to release anything in the stopgap zone.
So I suspect initially I'll have to live with typing the VM lifecycle to the logged in user lifecycle, maybe putting the VM into suspend if the GPU goes away, but again figuring out to integrate that with the libvirt/boxes style interfaces is quite tricky. I've done most of my development using qemu SDL and GTK+ support for direct running VMs without virt-manager etc. This just looks ugly, though I suppose you could have an SDL window outside the virt-manager screen and virt-manager could still use spice to show you the VM contents slower, but again it seems sucky. Another crazy idea I had was to have the remote viewer open a socket to the X server and pass it through another socket to the qemu process, which would build an X connection on top of the pre opened socket,
therefore avoiding it having to have direct access to the local X server. Again this seems like it could be a largely ugly hack, though it might also work on the nvidia binary drivers as well.
Also as a side-note I discovered SDL2 has OpenGL support and EGL support, however it won't use EGL to give you OpenGL only GLES2, it expects you to use GLX for OPENGL, this is kinda fail since EGL with desktop OpenGL should work fine, so that might be another thing to fix!
|8 comments|post comment|
|Three Ways Of Chronicling Your Life On Twitter||[Mon, 9 Dec 2013 09:42:00 -0800]|
I had a particularly strenuous workout at cardiac rehab, on a cold morning where I had been seriously tempted to pack it in. So my post-workout reward of one (1) Dunkin’ Donuts decaf iced coffee was exceptionally satisfying.
And I was tempted to Tweet my one word of triumph:
Which would have been a valid thing to Tweet. I mean, there’s no invalid thing to Tweet. It’s your social media, and you define your voice.
But my voice is generally not in-jokes, and that’s what I think of an in-joke Tweet – it only makes sense in context. If you know me well enough to know my mild addiction to Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee, my fulminating rants about how Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in Ohio is never quite as good as it is in New England (which is stone-cold truth), and my joy at finding one, then you’d know this all-capped shout is some sort of joy. If you knew me really well, then you’d know this was early morning on a weekday, and I must have just finished my workout, and thus would be able to piece together the context of this joy.
But otherwise? That’s not a Tweet for an audience. That’s a Tweet I posted for me, and maybe a secret signal to a select handful in the know.
That’s an in-joke Tweet.
And I see a lot of that mysterious social broadcasting going on, particularly on Facebook – which works really well for those who do know these people, and that cryptic cry of “DUNKIES” often leads to conversational threads like “…whup that treadmill!” and “Check the hottie!” and reinforces a small and exultant culture. For these kinds of social profiles, you really had to be there.
But to those of us on the outside, a constant stream of “Jerry said what?”s and “The tuna boat: incoming”s and so forth make literally zero sense. And I don’t know whether people who primarily interact with their social page of choice realize they make no sense to much of their audience – because quite often, I’m their friend and I have no frickin’ idea what they’re going on about – or simply don’t care, because to them Twitter is just a place for them to blurt out random things from their brain whenever they see fit.
As for me, though, I usually try to be a little more informative, so that Tweet might read something more like:
Which is definitely contextual. It’s also pretty mundane.
Weirdly enough, this second sort of Twitter-broadcast – which I call the factual, as opposed to the in-joke – gets a lot less response. If I post DUNKIES WHOO, then the handful of jamooks who got the reference feel an urge to reply to show me they’re one of the club, and as such the in-jokes pile up replies. But if I frame it all in context, then what I have here is pretty run-of-the-mill. I mean, it wasn’t an exceptional workout – no medical injuries, no breakthrough treadmill times – and I do it three times a week, so maybe I’d get a scattered “Go you!” or two, but mostly people would nod their heads and e-move on.
It keeps you in touch with me, for sure, so when we meet you’ll have conversational grist for the mill – “How’s your rehab going?” – but as far as inspiring a network of online interaction, it ain’t much. But you’ll at least be able to follow what the hell is going on in my life from a distance, unlike the in-joke world.
And then there’s the performance Tweet. This is what John Scalzi and many other popular Tweeterers specialize in, where you take the mundane thing you’re doing and make some kind of joke out of it, like:
No, wait, that’s not terribly witty. How about:
No, not punchy enough. How about -
- and so on. Which is the problem of the performance Tweet – you feel a little stupid if you spend more than a minute or two thinking up a Facebook post, because crap, it feels all kinds of egotistic to spend fifteen minutes composing The Perfect Tweet. You worry you’re becoming the Plus 97 Guy, pouring ridiculously amounts of effort into something nobody cares about. And then if nobody responds, man, have you lost your edge? Where’s the validation in social media? Man, I’m down twelve likes from last week, what do I need to do to grab these people?
Which, you know, stupid. You’re not writing for How I Met Your Mother, you’re talking about a goddamned iced coffee. Idiot.
But there I am, waiting in line at the Dunkies, composing…
I usually oscillate between the factual and the performance Tweet, starting by trying to say something terribly witty and then degrading gracefully (as they say in the web biz) into a mere factual Tweet if I can’t find a funny spin that fits in 140 characters. And honestly, I’m probably a worse Tweeterer because if I just used the sweat of my brow to put in the good time, devising a truly funny joke before I dare hit post, I’d be magnificent. But I go for the cheap joke, and man, where is my commitment to the form?
But that’s the downside, isn’t it? When you’re a performer, you’re a performer. And I’m not entirely sure I do want my Twitter to be performance art. I want it to be me, and I want it to be inviting so that you’re welcome to become a part of my online world, and if you want to know me, well, ‘ere I am, JH.
(That last bit was an in-joke. But that was a movie reference. SOMETIMES I DO THAT OKAY?)
So I dunno. It’s just odd to think that hey, for a throwaway line on Twitter to chronicle the oh-so-pressing business of my coffee consumption, I can think of at least three serious approaches to spamming 3,000 people with covert Dunkin’ Donuts advertisements. There are probably more.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/359261.h
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|O Tannenbaum||[Mon, 9 Dec 2013 07:27:00 -0800]|
This is our Christmas tree.
It makes me happy.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/359121.h
|5 comments|post comment|
|My tweets||[Mon, 9 Dec 2013 04:01:00 -0800]|
|My tweets||[Sun, 8 Dec 2013 04:00:00 -0800]|
|eagling||[Fri, 6 Dec 2013 22:58:00 -0800]|
Ahem. Where does the time, etc.
It's been cold this week, down below freezing and quite windy. At least it's bright as well. I think I've been sleeping better. I'm dreaming consistently for the first time in years and years. It's not bad dreams at least. Just ... mildly disconcerting, in the clear(er) light of morning.
Too, I feel rusty. My fingers have forgotten how to speak.
Two weekends ago, uilos and the Belgians and I went out west to see some eagles.
I grew up on the east coast and in the South, so there was always something rare and magical about bald eagles. Then we moved out here and... they're still impressive, just not so rare. I mean, there's at least one nesting pair in Stanley Park that comes our way every so often. You know to look for them because all the seagulls and crows freak out in unison if they see an eagle. Kinda funny, really.
Anyway, so, bald eagles are mostly opportunistic scavengers. This is important because come autumn the rivers up here run pinkish with the
And I do mean every. We drove west along the Fraser for an hour and a half, to an old mill town at a place where another river joins it, and got in a boat with a bunch of people and rode upriver a bit. I expected to see maybe a couple dozen eagles.
Then I realised that all the white spots in the trees on the bank weren't tent caterpillars, they were eagle heads. Yow. Hundreds of them, quite literally. Not to mention the ones we saw cruising at altitude, or sitting on poles, or chowing down on some salmon. Yeah. That was an awful lot of eagles. Still impressive, though, even coming one or two at a time.
Last weekend uilos's medtech test results came back (negative), and I helped load the Belgians' worldly possessions into a UHaul. The test doesn't bear dwelling on. The move had the standard UHaul trick where they don't really understand the concept of a 'reservation,' so Dawn & Sebastiaan didn't get to leave on their drive to Calgary until several hours after they'd planned to. I'd been meaning to go and help another friend move but between the cold and the wet and the waiting around in both, I was exhausted, so I just went home instead.
Original post at Dreamwidth | comments | Comment there or here
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|The Power Of Limp Jesus Compels You||[Fri, 6 Dec 2013 18:23:00 -0800]|
“Yeah, I made a mistake looking up Downton Abbey on IMDB,” I said.
“Well, I was trying to figure out where I knew some of the actors from. And I forgot that IMDB tells you how many episodes they’re in.”
“You dork. You’re just starting Season Two,” said Gini.
“I know! But it lied. It said that Limp Jesus appeared in every episode, but he wasn’t in the last one!”
“You know. The butler-dude with the limp. He’s gone, and now everyone’s talking about him like he’s Aslan.”
“He has a name! His name is Mr. Bates! Do you remember no one?”
“Yeah. There’s Lord Noble, and Bitchy Single Girl, and Snitchy Sister, and Dark Butler, and Cataract Girl, and….”
“You can remember the name of Aslan, but you can’t remember one name in the entire cast of Downton Abbey!?!?”
“Well, if there was a talking Lion-God in the cast of Downton Abbey, I’d remember his fucking name!”
Gini eyed me suspiciously. “I’m not sure you would,” she said. “I’m not sure you would.”
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/358835.h
|26 comments|post comment|
|depression comix illustration #6 [nsfw]||[Fri, 6 Dec 2013 22:31:00 -0800]|
The following image is NSFW. Please click through at the botttom to see it.
This picture used to be on the depression comix site but I took it off as probably being the main culprit of depression comix being labelled as “pornography” by Google AdSense. It needed a home so here it is as the first truly NSFW image on claycomix.com (believe it or not).
This is basically a redo of the last panel of depression comix #109. There isn’t much to say about it besides the nakedness, which I thought made her seem more vulnerable. It will be the last time for any kind of artistic nudity on depcom, for better or worse.
|2 comments|post comment|
|The Start Of The Veto Is Not The End||[Fri, 6 Dec 2013 10:32:00 -0800]|
“The Veto” is one of those auto-debate topics in polyamory, like abortion or religion or Billy Mitchell, where merely mentioning it to the polyamorous causes a hive-like breakout of debate. Those who have veto power in their relationships feel that it’s the only sane method and view everyone without a veto as some sort of Darwinian poaching ground where slavering fuck-chickens knock you down and mount your partner, whereas those without a veto see the vetoers as Relationship Stalin, executing potential lovers with a single word.
Full disclosure: I am a Stalinist. My wife has a veto, as do I. I personally don’t recommend the veto system for every poly relationship, as like most parliamentary procedures the veto becomes a disaster without the proper frameworks to support it.
Yet I wanted to talk about what the veto is not: an end to conversation.
For me and Gini, the veto power is of such a devastating potency, like nuclear weapons, we’re loath to use it. The only reason we’ve given each other such power is that we know neither of us would ever use it without having tried every other recourse: talking, begging, negotiating, smoke signals, operant conditioning, feng shui, late-night infomercials touting the merits of dating someone else.
The veto is our bond of trust: “I know that you would never use this power unless you felt you had no other way of being heard – and so when you use it, I know it is because you are hurting so badly that we need to stop right now.”
As such, in all our years of marriage, we have never vetoed anyone.**
But if Gini or I did veto a partner, shutting down that relationship, that would not be the final word.
Too many people view the veto as a trump card – you slam it to the table, yell “VETO! NO BACKSIES!” and then your partner can only give a Swiper-like “Aw, man!” and dutifully slink away. There is no further discussion, just a sullen obedience.
Whereas if I ever vetoed one of Gini’s partners, Gini would indeed stop dating (or perhaps even talking) to that person. That would be Gini, showing me her understanding of how badly this relationship is hurting me.
But then I would have to explain all the reasons how her behavior with this guy is causing me so much pain that I felt I had to thumb the big red “NO” button.
And then we have a big discussion of a) what’s acceptable and not acceptable in our relationship, and b) how she could alter her behaviors to both make me feel loved and date this guy.
Because I want Gini dating other guys. (And girls.) I want Gini dating other guys and girls who I’m not necessarily involved with. I want Gini to not be dating other people, if she’s in the mood to. I want Gini to be happy.
If I’ve just shut down her relationship, obviously neither of us are happy.
And I think that’s why the veto gets a bad rap: too many partners use the veto as a way of walling off the things that make them uncomfortable. “I don’t like that guy,” they say, yanking the big “Veto” ripcord and then walking away without a word of explanation.
Except that for me, Gini obviously gets pleasure out of her partners. Maybe she’s so caught up in them, she’s neglecting me in ways that make me feel horrible. Maybe he’s abusive to her in ways I do not wish to tolerate. Maybe he’s better at something than I am, which makes me feel small and scared.
The veto power is not the shutdown, for us. It’s the start of an emergency talking session, and that discussion is entitled, “How can she continue to date this person, and still make me happy?” And my goal is to keep her dating that person, if at all possible.
Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes two people have toxic habits when combined, or one person really is disrespectful in a way that doesn’t fit with your relationship. The veto risks discovering that yes, it’s them or me, and now you have to choose. Which is another reason we try not to push that big red Veto button: it could be them. Maybe I’m acting like a jealous ass. Maybe this discussion is going to reveal that I’m the one at fault. It’s unlikely that Gini’s going to leave me, her husband of well over a decade… but I have just opened up that possibility.
In the end, we love each other, which is why we’ve never vetoed. We’ve managed to negotiate through all the difficulties our other partners have caused, and keep them going.
The reason we’ve managed that is because our primary goal is to make the other person happy. That veto works because of mutual assured respect. And I think a veto given to the wrong person, one who wishes to control or suppress, would be an unmitigated disaster.
In the meantime, we’ve got this Veto button sitting between us. Haven’t needed it yet. But if it gets pressed, we know to listen.
* – If you have not seen this movie, which is the best documentary I have ever seen, then you are missing out on the majesty that is Billy Mitchell, my friends.
** – Full disclosure: There has been one veto from my girlfriend, and that after months of misunderstandings and discussion about the party in question. Which should also put a lie to the idea that vetos are a way of enforcing not-really-poly binary relationships: my girlfriend also has veto power.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/358475.h
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